Silver lining for Bantam Oilers

Hockey: Okotoks AAs make remarkable run at provincial banner

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 08:33 pm

Okotoks Bantam AA Oiler Ryan Bedard, right, stretches out to block a passing lane during playoff action. The Oilers earned the silver medal at the Bantam AA Major provincial tournament in Edmonton on Sunday.
Okotoks Bantam AA Oiler Ryan Bedard, right, stretches out to block a passing lane during playoff action. The Oilers earned the silver medal at the Bantam AA Major provincial tournament in Edmonton on Sunday.
Remy Greer/OWW

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The Okotoks Bantam AA Oilers found some sweet satisfaction when their provincial journey ended in a silver-medal finish.

After navigating its way through the 10-team field to make the final, Okotoks was upended 5-0 by the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in the gold medal game at the Bantam AA Major provincial tournament in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon.

”That’s the thing is talking them through it and letting them understand what they actually accomplished,” said Okotoks head coach Dwayne Gelinas. “The fact that you’re the second team in all of Alberta and that close, there is nothing to be ashamed of and to be very proud of what you accomplished.”

The Oilers finished first in their pool with a record of 3-1, picking up victories over St. Albert, Sherwood Park, falling 2-1 to Peace River and downing the Canadian Athletic Club 5-2.

The top-seed matched Okotoks with a familiar foe in the semifinal in their league rival the Wheatland Warriors, a team the Oilers ousted from league playoffs the week prior.

Wheatland took it to the Oilers, building a commanding 4-0 lead in the second period before Okotoks stormed back to win 6-5 in improbable fashion.

Captain Brandt Black led his club with a two-goal effort with Ryan Partaker, Jackson Salt, Shawn Grobowsky and Booker Chacalias also finding twine.

“We were down 4-0 midway through the second and came back so I think that one emotionally and physically factored into the final game,” Gelinas said.

“Fort Mac was very disciplined, a well-rounded team, they were solid top-to-bottom and played a puck pursuit style just like us. Two similar teams and they were just able to capitalize.

“The smallest mistakes at that level was the difference in games, that’s how close every game was.”

Okotoks gets a second chance at winning gold this week.

The top-seed Oilers square off with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the South Central Alberta Hockey League championship series.

“We get another shot, that’s the best part,” Gelinas said. “That’s what we said, enjoy today and we’ll reset ourselves Thursday when we start the SCAHL final.”

The best-of-five league finals get underway March 20 in Okotoks, with a 6:30 p.m. puck-drop at Pason Centennial Arena. Game 2 is March 22, 7:45 at Murray Arena. Lethbridge hosts Game 3 and 4, if necessary. Should the series go the distance, Game 5 would be March 27 in Big Rock Country.

For full schedule information go to scahl.com

Provincial round-up:

Okotoks played host to the Atom AA provincials, March 13-16, where the hometown Oilers posted a mark of 1-3. St. Albert won the gold medal game by outlasting the SWAT Attack.

Elsewhere, an Okotoks Bantam hockey team was just a couple of bounces away from reaching the gold medal game. The Okotoks Bantam 2 Oilers fell 4-3 to Vegreville in a competitive semifinal at the Bantam B provincials in Westlock on Sunday morning.

The Oilers bounced back from an opening 8-7 loss to Maskwacis to rally for a pair of wins to advance to the medal round. Okotoks edged Hinton 5-3 and dispatched Stettler by a 5-2 count to move on to the semis.

In Bantam A action, the Okotoks Bantam 1 Oilers finished out of the playoff round at the Bantam A provincials in Grande Prairie with a 2-2 record in dropping results to Edson and Stettler and engineering back-to-back 7-3 wins over Calgary NW and La Crete.

At the Bantam C provincials in Rimbey, the Okotoks Bantam 3 Oilers produced a 1-2 record highlighted by their 17-1 victory over the Westlock Warriors.

In Atom Female action, Okotoks Gold finished out of the playoff round with a record of 0-3-1 at the provincial showcase in Calgary.

The Hockey Alberta provincials continue this weekend with the majority of the Midget and Senior level competitions still on the docket. The Midget A female provincial tourney takes place in Okotoks from March 20-23.

For more information go to hockeyalberta.ca/provincials


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